The SPJIMR campus was a cheerful sight on April 15, 2017 as the Institute hosted the SPJIMR Graduation Ceremony 2017 (#SGC2017). The Graduating students this year comprised the two-year PGDM batch of 2015-2017, the 21-month PGEMP with its six batches, numbers 47 to 52, and the one-year PGPM batch of 2016. A total of 543 participants were awarded their MBA-equivalent certificates in the presence of proud family members and an elated faculty body.
The Institute grounds saw participants in all academic robes and formal suits or sarees as they lined up for their informal photos, with sash and hat adorning the foyer even before the ceremony had begun. The student and faculty procession then made its way to a specially-erected shamiana on the campus, where the ceremony formally began.
Dean Dr. Ranjan Banerjee gave the introductory address, talking about the activities, achievements, and overall progress of the Institute. In an empowering message delivered amidst a round of applause, he said, “You are SPJIMR. You are cut and bred from a different cloth. You can, will and must make a difference.”
“Too often, we see success as a matter of doing what the environment expects of us. Leaders do not just adapt to the world, they shape it in positive ways. When this is done with humility and the willingness to learn, it gives you soft power – the sort of power that can truly ‘influence practice’,” Dr. Banerjee said in a speech that tied in the SPJIMR way and how the Institute builds on its mission of ‘influencing practice’ and ‘promoting value-based growth’.
Present on the dais were Chief Guest Dr. Raghunath A. Mashelkar, who is one of India’s most applauded scientists noted for his innovative work and has received as many as 37 doctorates from global universities; Chairman of SPJIMR’s Governing Council Mr. Deepak Parekh; PGDM Chairperson Dr. Vasant Sivaraman; PGEMP Chairperson Dr. Renuka Kamath and PGPM Chairperson Dr. Suresh Lalwani. Faculty members were seated on the front rows while the audience of graduating students, friends and family members filled the makeshift auditorium that seated over 1,800 people.
The Chairpersons of programmes presented their Batch Reports, highlighting key moments from what was an eventful year for each programmes on campus. From the new initiatives undertaken, to batch achievements and amusing anecdotes, the parents got insights into the participants’ rigorous, entertaining and enriching life on campus.
Dr. Sivaraman, Chairperson of PGDM, which is the oldest and largest programme, offered by SPJIMR, said, “Pride and joy mark a graduation ceremony – for friends, families and faculty.” Dr. Sivaraman acknowledged that this was his first batch as programme Chair – from the orientation day to graduation day, making it a special occasion for him and the entire programme team.
Dr. Kamath, Chairperson of PGEMP, said, “To all those who have sacrificed so much, today is a happy day. You finally have your weekends back.” And Dr. Lalwani, Chairperson of the PGPM programme, added, “The class is full of multifarious talent – great learners and contributors, high on curiosity, focused and ambitious.”
Mr. Deepak Parekh echoed the Dean’s message as he welcomed the Chief Guest, Dr. Mashelkar, “India’s best days are yet to come. The future is yours to make,” he said.
Dr. Raghunath A. Mashelkar, Fellow of Royal Society, who is a global thought leader in the field of innovation, delivered the keynote address. Dr. Mashelkar spoke about not only what is important for success and progress, but also emphasised the trends in education and business going ahead. “There is no limit to human endurance, no limit to human achievement and no limit to human imagination, except the limits you put on your mind yourself. So be ‘limitless’ in terms of your imagination,” he said as the audience listened to the 1991 Padma Shri, 2000 Padma Bhushan and 2014 Padma Vibhushan awardee in rapt attention.
Dr. Mashelkar said at least six skills will be needed in future: dealing with complexity, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, cognitive flexibility and finally, the ability of co-working, co-creation and that too with both men and machine together.
And he added, “Finally, to my mind, two keywords will always be important, whatever be the paradigm shifts in education, industry or business, the first is courage and the second is heart.”
His words echoed the spirit of SPJIMR, mirroring the precise words that are an integral part of the SPJIMR brand and the Institute’s approach which empowers participants to be different, to chart out a bold new path and to lead change by serving societal needs.
The Graduation Ceremony was a fitting finale to an exciting journey that SPJIMR invariably offers each participant, equal part academic rigour, non- classroom learning and loads of fun.
The sentiment echoed in the beaming faces of the PGDM Class of 2017 as 229 participants went up to collect their diplomas, followed by 164 participants from the PGEMP and 150 participants of the PGPM.
Each batch had one student representative speak about the journey that was and how SPJIMR shaped possibly the most important time of his or her life. Earlier, the Dean’s Scholastic Awardees – Top 20 from PGDM, Top 3 from each of the six PGEMP batches, and Top 10 from PGPM were honoured, recognising their outstanding performance as an SPJIMR participant.
The ceremony closed with Faculty Co-ordinator Dr. Suranjan Das’ words emphasising the ‘Four F’ approach of the faculty – “We have been fair, free, friendly and firm with you.” He also joked with the PGDM batch, “Our Dean Dr. Banerjee and you, both together started this journey two years ago; while you are now moving out from here, we thank you for leaving our Dean behind!”
This was then followed by dinner, where participants bid their final goodbyes to the place and people that were their family as they savoured their first moments as fresh graduates, and embraced their new roles as part of the illustrious body of SPJIMR alumni.
Prof. Abbasali Gabula
External Relations, S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research